Condoms get a bad rap for being a bad wrap. Men often complain of discomfort, diminished sensation and poor fit. A recent federal study found only a third of American men use them.
Now, changes by the Food and Drug Administration and industry-standards groups have opened the door to the condom equivalent of bespoke suits. A Boston-based company has begun selling custom-fit condoms in 60 sizes, in combinations of 10 lengths and nine circumferences.
现在，美国食品与药品管理局(Food and Drug Administration，简称FDA)和行业标准团体做出的变化为安全套开辟了定制的大门。一家位于波士顿的公司已经开始销售60种规格的定制安全套，共有10种长度和9种周长组合。
Will the development improve the appeal of condoms, the only birth-control method that protects against most sexually transmitted diseases? Public health experts are unsure.
Many ideas for improving condoms have fizzled, sometimes stymied by the costs of testing required to satisfy the FDA, which considers condoms to be medical devices. A competition sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation sought ideas for more pleasurable condoms in 2013 but has not yet brought one to market. While some winners are still pursuing prototypes, others have given up.
改进安全套的很多想法都以失败告终，有时是因为要满足FDA要求的测试成本太高了，因为FDA把安全套视为医疗器械。比尔及梅琳达盖茨基金会(Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation)在2013年赞助过一个竞赛，想发掘更舒适的安全套设计，但是迄今没有任何产品推向市场。虽然一些获奖者仍在进行原型的制作，其他人却放弃了。
As the custom-fit condom company, Global Protection Corp., pressed the FDA and industry standards associations for changes, a key priority was smaller sizes, said the company’s president, Davin Wedel. Until recently, standard condoms had to be at least 6.69 inches long, but studies find the average erect penis is roughly an inch shorter.
一家名叫全球保护公司(Global Protection Corp.)、销售定制安全套的企业推动FDA和行业标准协会做出了改变，该公司总裁戴文·韦德尔(Davin Wedel)表示，小尺码是个优先重点。直到最近，标准安全套的长度至少都是6.69英寸(约合16.99厘米)，但研究发现，阴茎勃起的平均长度大约比这个要短1英寸(2.54厘米)。
“The idea was it had to be long enough to fit most men, and excess length could just be rolled,” said Debby Herbenick, a sexual health expert at Indiana University. She and her colleagues published a study of 1,661 men living throughout the United States that found that 83 percent had penile lengths shorter than standard condoms. The average length was 5.57 inches.
In studies, some men have complained that “condoms tend to slip off,” said Ron Frezieres, a vice president of research and evaluation at Essential Access Health, a nonprofit. And sometimes larger condoms actually felt tight because “shorter men had a big roll of latex at the base of the penis.”
非营利组织本质健康通路(Essential Access Health)的研究和评估副总裁罗恩·弗雷泽雷斯(Ron Frezieres)说，在研究中，有些人抱怨“安全套常常滑脱”。有时较大的安全套实际上使用起来却感觉很紧，因为“尺寸较短的男人在阴茎根部把套子卷了好多圈”。
The custom condoms, marketed under the brand name myONE Perfect Fit, come in lengths of 4.9 to 9.4 inches and circumferences of 3.5 to 5 inches. (Standard condoms are typically 6.7 to 8.3 inches long and 3.9 to 4.5 inches in circumference.) The template that men are given to measure themselves does not include inches or centimeters, instead using randomly ordered letters and numbers. One man might be E99, another Z22.
这些定制安全套使用“MyONE Perfect Fit”品牌进行销售，长度最短4.9英尺(约合12.45厘米)，最长9.4英寸(约合23.88厘米)，周长最小3.5英寸(8.89厘米)，最大5英寸(12.7厘米)(标准安全套长度通常从6.7[17.018厘米]至8.3英寸[约合21.08厘米]，周长从3.9[9.906厘米]至4.5英寸[约合11.43厘米])。发给男性的测量工具上面没有标注英寸或厘米，而是使用了随机排序的字母和数字。比如一个男人的尺码为E99，另一个为Z22。
“If they bought a small condom before and it was still too big, it’s horrible for men to have that experience,” said Wedel, whose company owns myONE condoms. Within hours of going on sale, he said, customers had ordered condoms in all 60 sizes.
One customer, Shawn Reimund, 34, of Austin, Texas ordered B17. With standard condoms, “the length was frustrating because you would get a lot of sliding,” he said, and excess latex would be “cutting off your circulation. I compare it to an anaconda wrapping around you.” Also, “sometimes the girth just wasn’t enough.”
The custom-fit company president, Wedel, 50, got into the condom game as a Tufts University undergraduate, when he and a classmate sold condoms in packages festooned with the university’s mascot, Jumbo the elephant.
AIDS was raging, he said, and “we put a fun slogan and a picture on a condom, and presto, we were changing condoms from something taboo.”
Soon, Wedel, who considered becoming a professional violinist, informed his mother, a church choir director in Crystal Lake, Illinois, that he was going “all in on the condom career.” He co-created a glow-in-the-dark condom, helped open Manhattan’s Condomania store, and won a court battle to sell Pleasure Plus, a condom that balloons near the tip.
Still, “condoms have an enormous image problem,” acknowledged Wedel, whose company works closely with public health organizations. The new federal study found “condom non-use remained common,” and that nearly 7 percent of women using them said condoms “broke or completely fell off.”
Custom condoms cost 66 cents apiece in regular 24-pack shipments ($1.66 apiece in a single six-pack). Early purchasers were also sent the next larger and smaller sizes for free.
Michael Davis, 21, a college student in Waverly, Florida, said he preferred the M77, the size above the one he first ordered. Standard condom circumferences were “just basically too big,” he said. With custom-fit condoms, he has found “no slippage whatsoever.”
Herbenick said condom education, along with tips like adding lubricant, are more important than access to 60 sizes. She and colleagues published a study that found custom-fit condoms less likely to break but, for some men, more likely to slip.
Some men might “prefer a condom that they think fits their penis,” she said. “But for the most part, men and their partners are fine with existing condoms.”
Still, Frezieres said, even without “true benefit,” custom condoms might increase usage, simply by being “confidence boosters.”